Air Transport World

Airbus talks about A320; future projects.

Toulouse--Roger Beteille, executive VP and general manager of Airbus Industrie, and considered by many to be the "father" of the European family of airliners, made it clear in briefings here that now the A320 150-seat project is "a reality." Al's gaze is already fixed on two further projects: The high-density, short/medium-range TA9, and the long-range, four-engine TA11.

In a significant spelling-out of European civil aerospace philosophy, Beteille said that Al's product lines so far--the A300, A310 and A320--were elements of a sustained strategy which they had had in mind since the start of the venture. "We have had our ups and downs, but we have kept our strong confidence in the future of civil air transport and we think that, providing we work hard and are intelligent enough, we will be able to keep our slice of the market for the benefit of our countries, our familis and our customers."

As he was speaking here, ministers representing the four major Airbus partner countries--France, WEst Germany, Britain and Spain--met in Born, West Germany, to endorse formally the A320 project. Bt Germany, Britain and Spain made it clear to the French that they want their industries to have a bigger share than in the past of the equipment which goes on the A320, while Britain is insisting that Al increases its profitability.

Norman Lamont, the British minister at the Bonn talks, said afterwards, "We take the view that Airbus should tighten up its finances, and the French and the Germans have agreed with us." Equipment issue

The equipment issue is blowing up into a big one in Europe. To ensure that the European partners obtain a bigger share on the A320, the past reliance on U.S. manufacturers will be reduced. There are two other reasons for this trend: With the experience of the A300 and A310 behind it, Europe now feels more technically able to provide its own equipment. …

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